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Tulsa, Oklahoma

November 15–16, 2017


November 15, 2016 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Presented by: The Arbor Day Foundation
Alliance for Community Trees Day

Event Information

Alliance for Community Trees Day is the annual member meeting for organizations in the Alliance for Community Trees network — a network of community-based organizations dedicated to improving the livability of their towns and cities through planning and caring for trees.

This meeting offers:

  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Networking
  • Educational sessions


date  Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016

  • 8:30–8:45 a.m. Welcome
    Dana Karcher, Arbor Day Foundation | Jan Davis, USDA Forest Service
  • 8:50–9:50 a.m. Telling our Stories for Success

    Urban and community forestry nonprofits have great stories to share. Daily, they work to make neighborhoods better, provide employment opportunities for youth, offer employee engagement programs, and make our communities beautiful. But, sometimes their tongues become tied when sharing their stories. Learn through the eyes of one of Indianapolis's own how creative and compelling stories make a difference in the messaging about the value of the work that nonprofits do across the country.

    Jeff Robinson, Visit Indy
  • 9:50–10:15 a.m. Break
  • 10:15–10:45 a.m. Panel: Urban Orchards: Start to Fruit, and In Between

    An Apple a Day: Sustaining and Caring for Urban Orchards

    Come learn how to support and integrate the growing interest in fruit- and nut-bearing trees in community settings. From food forests to faith-based food bank gardens, Trees Forever has worked with a wide variety of organizations and individuals to plant and teach the basics of fruit and nut tree care. Learn how Trees Forever partners with unique organizations to plant urban orchards and about the Fruit TreeKeepers program that empowers volunteers to care for urban "food" trees.

    Leslie Berckes, Trees Forever
    Leslie Berckes works at Trees Forever, a nonprofit organization highly active in starting, implementing, and sustaining community projects. In her role, Leslie serves as a program manager for several statewide programs, including the TreeKeepers volunteer training program, working with volunteers and organizations on projects such as tree plantings, tree care education, native prairie plantings, roadside enhancements, and more.

    Urban Food Forestry 2016

    Food forestry is a growing trend across North America that is enabling communities to restore urban tree canopy while creating productive, functional, and resilient human landscapes. Together we will explore the potential to draw more people to interact and care for urban forests utilizing food production as a motivator as well as examine the many benefits and some of the challenges of food forestry. Additionally, we will look at strategies to propel this much-needed comprehensive solution forward.

    Mario Yanez, Permaculture Design International
    Mario Yanez is passionate about the possibility of growing a Life-sustaining culture in the Greater Everglades, his home bio-region and beyond. He is an ecologist, organic farmer, teacher and activist, sharing his vision of the necessary transition toward growing ecologically sustainable and resilient human communities everywhere. In his practice as permaculture designer, he is applying permaculture design principles at various scales, implementing regenerative productive landscapes, organizations, enterprises, and social systems.

    Communal Urban Fruit Tree Planting with the Bloomington Community Orchard

    Learn how the Bloomington Community Orchard, an all-volunteer nonprofit, partnered with local government, Indiana University, neighborhood associations, and social service organizations to plant more than 500 trees in just five years through our urban communal fruit tree program. We will share how we navigate unique challenges and empower citizens to play a proactive role in their food system.

    Aileen Driscoll, Bloomington Community Orchard
    Aileen Driscoll is the partner planting manager and serves as a board member with the Bloomington Community Orchard. She also attends Indiana University and is vice president of the Bloomington Community Orchard at IU student group. Aileen has been a volunteer with the Orchard since 2014.

  • 10:15–10:45 a.m. Communicating Need at the Local Level: Advocacy in Your Community

    Working with local government can be important as urban forestry and tree planting resources shrink. Nonprofit organizations can be the voice of many constituents when it comes to advocating for the needs of the trees in a community. This presentation will share effective ways to make your message heard and be effective.

    Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever
  • 11:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. Diversity in Arboriculture: Growing a More Diverse Group of Community Forestry Professionals

    At last year's Partners in Community Forestry conference, many people questioned the diversity in our profession. Why are we lacking in diversity, and how do we grow it? Each year, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful hires more than 80 students who come from different religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. These students are introduced to the field of community forestry though planting and maintaining trees around the community. Many of these students become passionate about their work and go on to choose environmental majors and careers.

    Molly Wilson and Nate Faris, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
    Molly Willson has worked at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful since 2009. In 2012 she received her Arborist Certification from the International Society of Arboriculture. Molly plants trees with neighborhoods around Indianapolis and has worked with hundreds of students through the KIB Youth Tree Team over the last six years.

    Nate Faris has worked for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful for the past 11 years. During that time, he initiated KIB's Youth Tree Team program and is now the organization's director of community forestry. Nate is a Registered Consulting Arborist, an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, and serves as president of Faris Tree Consulting.

    Follow-Up Panel: Answering the Call for Diversity
  • 12:00–1:30 p.m. Networking Lunch
  • 1:30–2:15 p.m. Intergenerational Tree Care Events: Collaborating Between Programs to Improve Outcomes

    We will look at the planning, implementation, and outcomes of a quarterly event run at Friends of the Urban Forest. This event is a collaboration between our Green Teens Program and Tree Care Program. In order to train our new cohort of Green Teens, each session we introduce them to pruning by organizing a joint tree care event where Tree Care Leaders help train the youth in tree care basics. This crossover between programs has benefits for both programs and allows for increased efficiency, understanding, and fulfillment.

    Allegra Mautner, Friends of the Urban Forest
    Allegra Mautner organizes and runs the weekly volunteer tree care events at Friends of the Urban Forest. She holds a degree in Professional Forestry from UC Berkeley and is an ISA Certified Arborist. She has seen many aspects of the forestry industry, including making maps for the USGS, surveying plots at Blodgett Forest Research Station, reading tree rings, inspecting utility lines, and maintaining young trees in San Francisco. She has a passion for learning, teaching, and social justice.

  • 1:30–2:15 p.m. Shared Vision, Leadership, and Action -- Community Engagement Metrics for Success

    Openlands defines community engagement as the process of working collaboratively with groups of people who are connected by urban and rural landscapes, or who share common community or environmental interests. It is a powerful vehicle for connecting people to nature at multiple scales. We will look at quality community engagement metrics through the lens of community tree plantings in Chicago.

    Michael Dugan, Openlands
    Michael Dugan brought his passion for protecting and enhancing urban green spaces to Openlands in 2014 as the forestry coordinator. Previously working for the New York City Parks Department, he led community groups and volunteers in natural area stewardship and urban forestry projects as well as performing forest restoration in support of the MillionTreesNYC Initiative. Michael has also spent time as a gardener and environmental educator.

  • 1:30–2:15 p.m. Life After Tree Inventory: Inspiring Community Stewardship

    Over six years, Portland's Tree Inventory Project mobilized more than 1,000 volunteers to conduct the city's first complete street tree inventory. The project built a strong volunteer network, as volunteers were key to project organization, data collection, and even GIS data entry. Closing up shop on the popular project left our volunteer base asking, "What's next?" Learn how Portland is using its inventory data and volunteer network to inspire community stewardship, plan for equitable distribution of canopy, and change urban forestry policy.

    Angie DiSalvo, Portland Parks Urban Forestry
    Angie DiSalvo manages citizen science, education, and public outreach projects for Portland Parks Urban Forestry, including Portland's first complete street tree inventory. Prior to Portland Parks, Angie worked as the program manager for the World Forestry Center, advising and teaching international researchers on forestry projects . She holds an M.S. in Forestry and an M.Ed. in Counseling from Northern Arizona University as well as a B.S. in Environmental Science from Wright State University.

  • 1:30–2:15 p.m. High School Youth in the Urban Forest: Engaging the Next Wave of Tree Stewards

    As a nonprofit, Tree Pittsburgh seeks community partnerships and strives to strengthen high school youth involvement in urban forest neighborhoods. Tree Pittsburgh partners with local organizations such as Operation Better Block and the Student Conservation Association that provide educational training and green jobs for local youth. These structured activities impact their physical environment, equip them for leadership roles in the community, and provide them with an opportunity to explore green collar jobs and careers.

    Joe Stavish, Tree Pittsburgh
    Joe Stavish, community education coordinator for Tree Pittsburgh, develops and implements educational programming and outreach initiatives to educate and engage residents around tree care, planting, and advocacy. He builds community relationships that promote and support Tree Tenders® across neighborhoods. Joe holds a B.S. in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education from Slippery Rock University.

  • 2:30–3:00 p.m. Doing Big Things When You Are Small

    When competing for limited resources and divided attention, urban and community forestry groups feel pressure to do things on a big scale. This can be difficult when your resources are limited and your staff is small. However it can and must be done. The trick is to do it responsibly, without burnout, without sacrificing quality, and with the sustained growth that will allow you to continue to do big things.

    Michael Hawkins, Canopy
    Michael Hawkins has been the program director at Canopy for six years. Prior to that, he worked as a consulting utility forester as well as at Our City Forest in San José and the Million Trees NYC initiative with the New York Restoration Project. Michael participated in his first neighborhood tree planting at the age of 10.

  • 2:30–3:00 p.m. Changing the Way We Talk About Urban Forestry: Messaging and Communication Strategies

    This session will examine factors and trends that will affect how successful we are in reaching our audiences regarding urban forestry issues in our communities. What is urban forestry today? How has the industry evolved? Who is the audience now? Are we speaking in terms they understand? What makes them take action? This presentation will explore our current environment and discuss marketing and communication tips and trends to spur action in your communities.

    Rachel Comte, Northern KY Urban & Community Forestry Council
    Rachel Comte is a project manager for Davey Resource Group based out of the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metropolitan area. She is responsible for managing large, high-end urban forestry consulting projects (master plans, management plan development, and UTCs). Rachel was in strategic marketing consulting the first 10 years of her career then moved into urban planning and arborculture. She is an ISA Certified Arborist and a board member of the Northern KY Urban & Community Forestry Council.

  • 3:00–3:30 p.m. Break
  • 3:30–4:00 p.m. The Exploding Organization: Managing Rapid Growth in an Urban Forestry Nonprofit (A Case Study from Austin, TX)

    When opportunity presents itself, how do you manage the rollercoaster of thrills and challenges that comes with exponential growth? After taking on large-scale reforestation in the wake of natural disaster, TreeFolks in Austin, TX, exploded from 3 to 15 staff members and a budget of over $1.5 million in just four years. Thais Perkins, Executive Director of TreeFolks, discusses challenges, lessons learned along the way, and efforts taken toward turning short-term capacity into long-term sustainability.

    Thais Perkins, TreeFolks
    Thais Perkins is the executive director of TreeFolks, Inc., and has more than 10 years of experience in environmental research, environmental policy, and organizational management. Her experience includes environmental policy for the City of Austin, management of the Environmental Science Institute at UT–Austin and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Research Program at Southeastern Louisiana University, research in forest ecology in Oregon and Lousiana, and an M.S. in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.

  • 3:30–4:00 p.m. Engaging the Green Industry for Your Cause

    A nonprofit's cause can be catapulted by partnerships with the green industry -- tree service companies, nurseries, garden centers, and landscape companies. Once an organization understands what makes these businesses tick, then the "ask" for help with your tree planting initiative, tree care projects, and public education is easy. Using the Taking Root Initiative in Cincinnati as a model, representatives from the nonprofit and its partner nursery and tree care companies will discuss their win-win-win relationship.

    Jenny Gulick, Davey Resource Group | Matt Stenger, Taking Root | Liz Jacob, Natorp's Nursery
    Jenny Gulick is a business developer and senior consulting urban forester responsible for assisting governments, businesses, utilities, and nonprofit organizations with various project development and implementation plans specializing in urban forestry, park management, and land development programs. Jenny has more than 30 years of experience and joined Davey Resource Group in 1999 after a successful career in municipal government. She has managed and been a key contributor to a wide variety of local and national urban forestry projects.

    Matt Stenger is the executive director of Taking Root. He has a degree in interpretive services and has been working as an outdoor educator and naturalist in the Cincinnati area for nearly 20 years. During this time he has been involved in conservation, habitat restoration, and land management work as well educating future generations about the importance of conserving green space. Matt's passion for nature education and conservation is evident in his personal and professional life. In 2011, his boundless curiosity led him on a continent-wide search for birds to photograph and observe. He is profoundly committed to sharing that passion through his presentations, photography and writing.

  • 4:15–5:00 p.m. Up With Partnerships!: Leveraging an Urban Forest Master Plan to Make a Regional Impact

    Up With Trees is known for collaborating with multiple partners to plant, preserve, and promote trees in the greater Tulsa area. With guidance from their advisory council, which includes local and state-level stakeholders, the nonprofit recently completed an Urban Forest Master Plan for the City of Tulsa, presenting a shared vision for the future of Tulsa's urban forest. The project also included a countywide canopy assessment and benefit analysis and provided training to multiple partners in Tulsa County to develop their own local master plans.

    Steve Grantham, Up With Trees
    Steve Grantham is the executive director of Up With Trees. He has served in this role since July of 2014 and previously held the position of director of operations for six years. He is a Certified Arborist and serves on the board for the Oklahoma Urban and Community Forestry Council.

  • 5:00–5:15 p.m. Closing Remarks
    Dana Karcher, Arbor Day Foundation

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors

  • TD Bank
  • J. Frank Schmidt
Ready to become a 2017 sponsor? or call 402-473-9574.